The Santa Fe of today has every vegan, raw, farm-to-table, healthy-living restaurant you can imagine. The Santa Fe of my husband’s childhood had, and still has, Bert’s Burger Bowl, Blake’s Lotaburger, and Baja Tacos, which is so old-school it doesn’t have an online home.
The first time Bernard took me to Santa Fe, 15 years ago, he introduced me to green chile at Harry’s Roadhouse, still one of our favorite places to eat when we visit. I ordered a Christmas burrito (red and green chile, side by side), and Bernard warned me that the green chile was often hotter than the red. “Yum,” I said, ignorant and innocent. It was possibly the hottest food I’ve ever eaten, or so it seemed at the time. It was delicious.
The food at Harry’s was as good last week as always, and even the kids enjoyed it – especially the homemade pies. During the week we also enjoyed bacon rolls from Baja Taco (bacon, hash browns, cheese and green chile wrapped in a tortilla – YUM!), burgers and burritos from Lotaburger, and egg salad sandwiches from Bert’s. No, I am not making that up.
To even out the food groups, we also worked in some fruits, veggies and salads from my favorite grocery, the Whole Foods on Cerrillos Road. (Not to be confused with the one on St. Michael’s – not the same at all, sorry Whole Foods). Yes, I know it’s a chain grocery; but this particular store doesn’t feel like a chain. It’s big and clean, and the people have always been friendly. Besides, Bernard’s friend Peter is one of the butchers, and a store with real butchers behind the meat counter is a fine thing indeed.
Now we’re back in our nest, doing laundry, getting ready to re-join the routine. With spring around the corner, we’re almost ready to open the front porch and move our family dining adventures outside. The yard’s about to bloom, and the later sun is a welcome friend. It’s good to be home.
Cheers to a happy week – two more ’til Easter!
***** Some recipe links are included on the menu sheet, others follow, below ****
NOTES & RECIPES
Chicken stir fry with orzo: I will slice chicken breasts into strips then saute in olive oil over hot heat with thickly sliced onion, green & orange peppers, and green beans (salt and pepper to taste). I serve that mix over cooked orzo with grated Parmesan on top.
Cheese souffle: one of my mother’s kitchen basics, this tasty dish is much easier to make than anyone thinks. There are plenty of recipes online if you want more specifics, but I make it the way my mother did and it works every time. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a souffle dish and coat with grated cheese (Parmesan works well). Make a white sauce: 3 Tablespoons butter, 3 Tablespoons of flour (melt butter; stir in flour to make a roux), 1 1/2 cups hot milk (whisk hot milk into roux to make sauce). Remove sauce from heat and stir in 6 ounces cheese, grated or cubed (Gruyere is the standard; I use whatever we have, which is often just cheddar). Separate 5 eggs. Stir a couple of spoonfuls of the cheese sauce into the yolks to warm them up, then add warmed yolks into saucepan and whisk well. Season with salt, and a bit of cayenne pepper. Beat eggs whites until stiff. Add half of the whites to the cheese base and mix well. Fold in the other half of the whites (you’ll see egg white showing), then transfer to souffle dish. Put it in the oven and reduce heat to 375/380 degrees. Cook for about 30 minutes.
Lentil soup: Saute about a half an onion, chopped, and 2-3 celery stalks, chopped, in some olive oil. When the onions are soft, add 1 cup dried lentils and 4 cups chicken stock. Season with about a teaspoon of cumin and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Add one can chopped or petite diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer. Cook until lentils are tender, about 35 minutes. Add juice from a lemon and salt and pepper to taste. If you want a recipe you can print, this one looks pretty good.
Red chile pork: Soak about 15 dried red chile peppers in boiling water in a glass bowl; set those aside. Cut pork loin (about 2 lbs.) into 1 inch cubes. In a paper grocery sack, shake with a mix of flour (1/4 cup, ish), red chile powder (1-2 tablespoons) and salt (maybe a teaspoon – I just pour some into my hand and dump into the sack). Heat some olive oil in a large heavy bottomed Dutch oven. Brown pork in oil in batches; transfer to a plate. Sauté about a cup of chopped onion and 2-3 cloves minced or pressed garlic in the same pot; if you put the lid on the Dutch oven while the onions are cooking, the steam and liquid should loosen the browned bits from the pork. Mix in a generous pinch of dried oregano, about a teaspoon of ground cumin and about a cup of beef or chicken broth; bring to a boil; reduce heat to simmer. Add browned pork. Remove stems from the peppers that have been soaking. Place in a blender with a bit of the liquid, and puree until smooth (remember to leave a steam vent in the blender top!). Add red chile puree to the pot; add more broth, if needed. Cover, leaving a small steam vent, and cook for about 45 minutes over very low heat. You can also put in the oven and cook at around 270 degrees for a couple of hours, if you’d rather set it and forget it until dinner time. Serve with grated cheese, chopped cilantro, limes and tortillas. I also serve with sour cream, which makes Bernard roll his eyes….
Spinach linguini with sauteed shrimp: Saute some minced garlic and finely chopped onion in a mix of butter and olive oil; add a pinch of dried herbs to suit your taste (I like tarragon) and a squeeze of lemon juice. Add shrimp (peeled and deveined) and saute until shrimp are just done. Serve atop fresh spinach linguini with lemon slices on the side.